Living With Female Taxonomy

Species descriptions have traditionally focused on the male features. This tradition is challenged by the work of Sydney Brannoch and Gavin Svenson of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Theirs is the first formal publication to delimit a species based on female genitalia. They work with Mantids, that have noted sexual dimorphism in size (females can be much larger) and appearance. Traditional male based descriptions can leave future taxonomists scratching their heads if only the female is available for identification. Their work addresses this oversight in the taxonomic literature.

A described species needs a name. One of their newly described species in the genus, Ilomantis has a prothorax reminiscent of a jabot worn by US Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Justice Ginsberg is a feminist icon, with a fashion connection to a mantis feature in a description based on a feminist revolution in taxonomy. Ilomantis ginsburgae is a fitting name.

Mantis

Left: Ilomantis ginsburgae;           Right: Justice Ginsberg Wearing Jabot

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Insect Inspired, Taxonomy. Bookmark the permalink.

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